Obama wants to take US relationship with China 'to new level'

President Obama is telling his Chinese counterpart that he wants the two countries to take their relationship “to a new level” ahead of a bilateral meeting in Beijing.  

“When the U.S. and China are able to work together effectively, the whole world benefits,” Obama told Chinese President Xi Jinping, adding that he hoped for “productive and candid” talks.

Obama also praised China for hosting a “well-managed” gathering of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Xi responded in kind, offering a metaphor on how a pool begins with many drops of water and saying he hoped for a productive discussion.

The president and Xi will be joined at a dinner Tuesday evening by senior Chinese officials, as well as Secretary of State John Kerry and U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus. Obama joked that Kerry, who arrived fresh from negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program in the Middle East, did not know what time it was.

The two countries used the visit to announce a new visa deal that will loosen restrictions on travel between the two countries. They also have reached a breakthrough agreement reducing tariffs on technology products, which is expected to drive down prices on products like video game consoles, software and medical equipment.

At Tuesday’s dinner, the president is expected to press Xi on a range of U.S. security interests — including concerns about Chinese hacking. Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said earlier in the day Obama could ask Xi to resume a joint working group between the two nations’ governments on cybersecurity.

“We do believe it’s better if there’s a mechanism for dialogue,” Rhodes said.

China suspended its participation in the group, when the U.S. levied hacking charges against Chinese military officers.

Rhodes also said Obama would press the Chinese on its maritime military provocations, which have drawn complaints from U.S. allies like Japan and South Korea.

“We’re going to be very clear when we believe that China’s actions are actually pushing outside the boundaries of what we believe to be the necessary international norms that govern relations between nations and the ways in which we resolve disputes,” Rhodes said.